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Colorado Shooting Suspect’s 2021 Case Dropped For Lack Of Witnesses

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Colorado Shooting Suspect's 2021 Case Dropped For Lack Of Witnesses

(CTN NEWS) – A 2021 bomb threat case against the Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooter was dropped after family members refused to cooperate, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.

According to the disclosed records, the accusations were dropped despite investigators discovering a “tub” filled with bomb-making materials.

And later, hearing from other family members, suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich would undoubtedly harm or kill a pair of grandparents if released.

The relatives portrayed an image of a lonely, angry individual who was given $30,000 that was primarily used to buy 3D printers to create guns in a letter last November to state District Court Judge Robin Chittum.

Colorado Shooting Suspect's 2021 Case Dropped For Lack Of Witnesses

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, the suspect in the mass shooting that killed five people and wounded 17 at an LGBTQ nightclub, appears seated before a judge during his charging hearing in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S. December 6, 2022.

El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen said Aldrich attempted to retrieve guns taken after the threat, but the officials did not give them back.

Allen testified hours after Chittum unsealed the case, which contained accusations that Aldrich had left five people dead more than a year before the attack on the nightclub.

Vowed to kill the grandparents and turn into the “next mass murderer.”

According to Allen, the prosecution’s efforts to serve the suspect’s mother and grandmother with a subpoena were unsuccessful because they managed to elude them.

As a result, the accusations against them were dropped when the defence claimed that the laws governing expedited trials were in jeopardy.

Colorado Shooting Suspect's 2021 Case Dropped For Lack Of Witnesses

People look at flowers and mementos left at a memorial after a mass shooting at LGBTQ nightclub Club Q, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S. November 26, 2022. REUTERS/Isaiah J

Two months after the threat, the suspect’s mother and grandmother testified in court, calling Aldrich a “lovely” and “kind” young man who didn’t deserve to be imprisoned, according to the prosecution.

Despite dealing with numerous witnesses eluding subpoenas, the former district attorney who Allen succeeded told The Associated Press that the failure to serve the Aldrich family was unusual.

Dan May of the suspect’s family stated, “I don’t know if they were hiding, but if that was the case, shame on them.” “This is a severe case of what appears to have been manipulation, and the outcome is terrible.”

Public defender Joseph Archambault, Aldrich’s legal representative, had opposed the document release because Aldrich’s right to a fair trial was crucial.

According to Archambault, “it will ensure that there is no presumption of innocence.”

In a letter to the court in November 2021, the in-laws of the grandmother said that Alrich posed a continued threat and should be kept behind bars.

According to the letter, the grandmother stepped in to prevent police from holding Aldrich for 72 hours following a previous reaction to the residence.

“We think if Anderson were released, my brother and his wife would suffer physical harm or worse. Anderson needs rehabilitation and counselling in addition to being imprisoned,” according to Robert Pullen and Jeanie Streltzoff’s letter.

Colorado Shooting Suspect's 2021 Case Dropped For Lack Of Witnesses

Flowers, candles, and mementos are left at a memorial after a mass shooting at LGBTQ nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S. November 26, 2022. REUTERS/Isaiah J.

They said Aldrich had smashed windows and punched holes in the grandparents’ Colorado house walls, forcing them to “sleep in their bedroom with the door closed” and a bat by the bed.

The letter said that while Aldrich was a teenager in San Antonio, he attacked the grandfather and brought him to the hospital with unspecified wounds.

The letter claimed that the suspect had been homeschooled as a child because the grandfather later told lies to the police out of fear of Aldrich.

After news organizations, including the AP, requested that the documents be made public and two days after the AP published portions of the documents that had been confirmed with a law enforcement official, the judge issued her order.

In June 2021, Aldrich, 22, was detained on suspicion of making a threat that prompted the evacuation of about 10 homes.

The records detail how Aldrich warned the terrified grandparents that weapons and bomb-making supplies were in the basement.

And swore not to let them get in the way of his plans to become “the next mass murderer” and “go out in a blaze.”

Investigators later searched the mother’s and grandparents’ homes, where they found and seized handguns.

Hundreds of rounds of ammunition, body armour, magazines, a gas mask, and a tub filled with chemicals that make an explosive when combined.

Aldrich, who uses they/them pronouns and is nonbinary, holed up in their mother’s home in a standoff with SWAT teams and warned about having armour-piercing rounds and a determination to “go to the end.”

Aldrich’s “escalating homicidal behaviour” was mentioned in past calls to law enforcement, according to a sheriff’s report, but no other details were provided.

The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

Colorado Shooting Suspect's 2021 Case Dropped For Lack Of Witnesses

This image provided by the Colorado Springs Police Department shows Anderson Lee Aldrich. A year and a half before the Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooting that left five dead, Aldrich, the alleged shooter, was accused of threatening to kill his grandparents if they stood in the way of his plans to become “the next mass killer.”

The culprit was apprehended when the grandparents dialled 911, and Aldrich was jailed on suspicion of kidnapping and felony menacing.

Aldrich’s bond was initially set at $1 million, but after hearing from his mother and grandparents, the amount was lowered to $100,000 with several requirements, including rehabilitation.

According to Allen, the lawsuit was withdrawn after unsuccessful attempts to serve the family members with subpoenas to testify against Aldrich.

According to Allen, the subpoena procedure became more challenging once both sets of grandparents relocated.

Documents reveal that although grandmother Pamela Pullen claimed through a lawyer that a subpoena was in her mailbox, it was never delivered to her personally or properly served.

After all, they weren’t going to testify against Andy, according to Xavier Kraus, a former friend and Aldrich’s neighbour, who spoke to the Associated Press.

Kraus later learned that the family had been evading subpoenas and that he had texts from Aldrich’s mother claiming that she and the suspect were “hiding from somebody.”

Aldrich’s “words were, ‘They received nothing. There’s no evidence,'” Kraus said.

A protective order against the suspect that was in force until July 5 banned Aldrich from owning guns, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office stated.

Kraus claimed that Aldrich started bragging about having access to weapons again soon after the charges were dropped, adding that Aldrich had shown him two assault-style rifles, body armour, and incendiary bullets.

Aldrich slept next to a gun while it was covered up because he “was thrilled about it,” according to Kraus.

Documents in the case state that after the suspect’s arrest in 2021, relatives of Aldrich’s grandmother said that she had just given him $30,000, “most of which went to his purchase of two 3D printers – on which he was producing firearms.”

Aldrich’s comments in the bomb case aroused concerns about whether law enforcement may have impounded the suspect’s weapons under Colorado’s “red flag” law.

In a statement issued on Thursday, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder claimed that since Aldrich’s guns had already been taken as part of his arrest and he was unable to purchase new ones, there was no need to request a red flag order.

The sheriff also denied the notion that he could have been able to request a red flag order following the conclusion of the investigation.

The bombing case was too old to say there was danger shortly, Elder said, and the material was sealed a month after the dismissal and couldn’t be utilized.

“There was no legal mechanism” to take guns following the case dismissal, the sheriff added.

Under Colorado law, documents are automatically sealed when a case is dropped, and defendants are not prosecuted, as in Aldrich’s 2021 case.

Officials cannot acknowledge the existence of sealed records, so the process of unsealing the records is initially conducted behind closed doors with an unnamed judge and no docket.

Chittum stated the “profound” public interest in the case outweighed Aldrich’s privacy rights. The judge continued, saying that close examination of court proceedings is “fundamental to our system of government.”

Aldrich did not appear to react when their mother’s attorney requested that the case be kept confidential during the hearing on Thursday. Instead, he sat at the defence table and occasionally looked straight ahead or down.

Aldrich was formally charged on Tuesday with 305 criminal counts, including murder and hate crimes, in connection with the shooting at Club Q on November 19 in the largely conservative Colorado Springs.

As a drag queen celebrated her birthday, Aldrich allegedly entered just before midnight with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle and started shooting.

Witnesses claimed patrons interrupted the killing by pulling the suspect to the ground and beating Aldrich into submission.

17 people were shot but survived, according to the authorities.

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